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Barry Stocker
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The idea of a fully articulated philosophy of the novel does not really get going until Georg Lukács wrote Theory of the Novel during World War One, though it was not published until 1921 by which time Lukács’ political world view had changed. There may be some large scale work... Continue reading
The eighteenth century saw a dramatic renewal of ancient ideas of republicanism and democracy (Latin and Greek originated works of course), but that came in the late eighteenth century. The American Declaration of Independence in 1776, the French Revolution of 1789, and the Haitian Revolution of 1791 are the important... Continue reading
It is possible to see Homer as the beginning of a lot of things. (The use of ‘Homer’ here is simply for convenience as a way of referring to The Iliad and The Odyssey and should not be taken as an assertion that there was a single author of those... Continue reading
Recent reading largely devoted to philosophical aesthetic questions about the form of the novel, have also led me into some thoughts about the idea of Europe. There is of course a very familiar idea of the novel as something that evolves from epic, beginning with Homer, and tied up with... Continue reading
The idea of Homer is significantly tied up with the idea of Europe, which is not to say that there is one thing which is Europe and that it has some pure ideal beginning. It is to say that concepts like ‘Europe’ have origins and histories, and that some ways... Continue reading
Recent close reading and teaching and Homer, along with some long standing interests leads me to reflect on the Homeric epics as a beginning in literature and a beginning in philosophy, which appears in later beginnings. It requires no argument to suggest that The Iliad and The Odyssey are foundational... Continue reading
Nothing new to say about Schmitt here, but I think there is something to be said for clarifying in what ways Schmitt is not ‘Schmittian’ in some senses that influence some people. This issue came up in a teaching context recently and I think refers to a widespread tendency, which... Continue reading
Thanks, post now edited to fix that
I don't think you've misread me, I could certainly have put more emphasis on Abraham's commitment to obey God's command, but what I've chosen to emphasise is the simultaneous faith that the terrible action will not be necessary and that the action is not necessary. Abraham does not expect God to oblige him to act against ethics even if he is willing to obey any such command. I though it worth emphasising the expectation that God's will harmonise with ethical expectations in this context. I hope overall that the post does make clear the place of God's commands/actions above human expectations, as in the love in Ultimatum which requires such an orientation, while also explaining how in Kierkegaard ethical constraints are not just terminated or marginalised, or played down at all
There are some ways in which Kierkegaard might appear to be diminishing the importance of ethics. At least such is the impression some take away from Fear and Trembling, Kierkegaard’s most read text, and the one most readily found in relatively popular editions. Fear and Trembling features the well known... Continue reading
One aspect of Nietzsche’s political thought of note is the strong tendency to replace politics with culture as the source of value. Some sense of cultural value as the human goal, or at least a major aspect of flourishing humanity, or some flourishing group of humans, goes back to The... Continue reading
Thanks for the feedback. I have some interest in the Baumgarten-Kant line in philosophical aesthetics, but my overall approach leans towards a more Vico-Montesquieu philosophy of history, art/literary criticism, literary history context. I agree that there is an element of the 'Stoic' in Kant's view, but Im interested also in a. subjectivity in Kant (including discussion of evil in Religion within the Limits of Reason, b. culture and history in Kant. I have blogged about aspects of this in various places at various times. I amy blog here about this, but when I do some new thinking. I have no idea if Kant read Montaigne, but my immediate guess is that someone with a passion for Rousseau would read Montaigne, but maybe that's just because I think they should read Montaigne given that Rousseau does echo Montaigne at times. I've just had a quick Google and got this, so according to this Kant occasionally refers to Montaigne, so he may get some of his ideas about Stoicism from Montaigne
There is some exaggeration in referring to the death of Stoicism, of course its ethics (which is what concerns us here) is still of interest and has even had a revival, popular and academic in recent years. Nevertheless there really was a death of Stoicism in that the influence it... Continue reading
Thanks very much Gordon, great thoughts and reference on the rape of Lucretia and its place in republican thought and mythology, I'll be looking into this.
The idea of a republic has been very tied up from the beginning with the idea of loss, even when linked with the hope for a new beginning. The first great political text of republican political theory may be the Funeral Oration of Pericles as reported (invented?) by Thucydides in... Continue reading
Well I live in Istanbul, so I guess I don't think of myself sitting in the 'west' looking in a puzzled way at all the 'others' somewhere 'east' and 'south', trying to work out how they belong. It is I must emphasise a fact in the evolution of language and concepts that 'Europe' and 'Europeans' got going in the 8th century in the west round the events I mention. So while it is important to understand that Europe is more than the Carolingian 'west', it is also important to acknowledge when talking about European identity and its history that it has a starting point in the 8th century, itself drawing on an earlier history of the use of the word Europe and various forms of distinction. My perspective in Istanbul, is that he Ottoman-Turkish attitude has itself been to move from finding 'Europe' or originally 'Rum/Rome' and Franks rather backward, other, and dangerous to finding itself in a weaker position where it more or less accepts the centrality of 'Carolingian' or related understandings of Europe, tending to respond with aggressive rejection or anxiety to be accepted (the two attitudes can also overlap). As much as anything, I am challenging a Turkish tendency to accept a kind of 'otherness' in these ways. You seem to be speaking from a more Balkan/Russian/Caucasian perspective and I can't say too much about this, though I do get the impressions that Greeks, Russians and others have gone through similar attitudes and they still structure reactions to some degree. My analysis that the 'west' should not assume it is the centre, should acknowledge for example the importance of Averroes, a Muslim from Cordoba in the origins of Scholastic philosopher, and the 'east' should not define itself through a resentment and anxieties about exclusion, so it should see that it also made Europe through the creations of Byzantine, Ottoman, Moorish, Russian Orthodox states and cultural traditions which have shaped Europe as much as the Carolingian 'centre'. As I was trying to suggest in the post, the award by the Pope of the title of Emperor of the Romans to Charlemagne was a calculated attempt to exclude Byzantium/Eastern Rome from the centre of Europe/Christendom and I certainly think we should resist that as we should resist the way Europe was defined in the 8th century to exclude Moorish Iberia.
I fear I am merely repeating myself again. Let me try to be as absolutely clear and simple as I can. 1. The two narratives of what Europe is outlined at the beginning are put forward in order to criticise them. 2 The idea of 'Europe' and 'Europeans', that is the words, not the reality of Europe as a whole in its many peoples, cultures etc, were developed around Charlemagne and the Battle of Tours. Stating this is stating facts about the development of concepts, it is not a justification of only looking at Europe as Carolingian Europe. 3 The post rather clearly states that other parts of Europe should be given more attention, I mention the Ottomans/Turks, Moors, Muslims in general, Greeks, Russians Orthodox Christians in general.
Dear Plo, indeed you are not sure where I am going with this post. You have completely misunderstood it and given it the opposite meaning to that intended and which I think is reasonably clear if you read the whole thing through with moderate care, in which case you will see that I am questioning the dominant narratives outlined at the beginning . I certainly agree that all the peoples you mention are part of Europe and questions of European identity, but of course I can't mention very national group at once.
Discussions of European identity, and the history mostly revolve round two points of reference. One goes back to the origin of modern usage of Europe and European in the eight century around the struggle between Christian Franks and Muslim Moors, and then round the Frankish king Charlemagne who received the... Continue reading
I don't think I've got anything surprising to say for anyone whose read Enlightenment texts concerned with ethics texts at all attentively, at least in terms of pointing out what is obviously there, but what I'm discussing as far as I can see is underplayed in most discussion, and certainly... Continue reading
The academic literature on republicanism, in my experience, largely assumes one major distinction between kinds of republicanism. As I did not do conduct a major literature review just recently on the issue, I may have missed something, but it seems safe to say that the distinction I am getting onto... Continue reading
Continuing from my last post on 'Style of Living versus Juridification in Foucault', there seems to be me to be something to be gained by thinking about Kierkegaard's ethics here, even if Kierkegaard's Christianity and Foucault's aesthetic self seem rather distinct. The emphasis in Foucault on style or aesthetics of... Continue reading
Hello Gordon, thanks for your great comments. I certainly think the common law/Roman law issue is worth exploring in this context. I am gradually accumulating relevant material (including Maitland's historical work on English law, which as far as I can see is a major point of departure in this field) and bringing thoughts about it into my writing (blogging and more formal). Schmitt's discussions of law and sovereignty over time are very germane, particularly to the issue around Papal potestatis (particularly in *Dictatorship* which I discussed earlier this year in a series of posts on my personal blog). I'm not really ready to say much at the moment, blogging is one way in which I am formulating very emergent thoughts. I'm certainly interested in and reasonably familiar with the Machiavelli angle, I'm thinking about it along with the development of natural law theory from Grotius to Vico, including the way natural law gets taken up in the Scottish Enlightenment. I'm not as familiar with Deleuze as I ought to be and even less so with Negri, but that's another thing I'll read up on over time. I've got next to no competence to comment on the Averroeist influence, though I know its there and I intend to look into it. It seems to b a field of enormous debate covering intellectual history over centuries, which might be difficult to grasp fully without a lot of knowledge of Italian intellectual history from the 13th to 18th centuries, more than I have. So important points you've raised, I'm not ready to say much about right now, but I am working along relevant lines and some results should become apparent over time
I'm making a brief exploration of one of the most significant oppositions in Foucaut's thought, which has not been discussed that much in my experience, but I may well have overlooked some vast bibliography. In any case, there is a major polarity in Foucault between the style of living in... Continue reading
Thanks Joshua, great to get comments like this from someone engaged with the historical aspects of republicanism. On the issue of information, that is a real concern, but given the very limited and partial information we have about antique republics, however much we may still read the literary products of two of those republics, I think we can say the whole field of historical republicanism in antiquity and the middle ages is full of problems on this score, and the best response is to research those histories and compare them, bringing in more examples and more 'marginal' cases, which is what I think you are doing anyway. The question of Medieval Iceland is a major one, sadly I've had the Sagas sitting on my shelves for years and not got round to reading them, let alone exploring the commentaries and historical context. The major political reception I'm aware of is the anarcho-capitalist one from David Friedman. I'd certainly be interested in finding out about others.